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Her novel also tells the story of now: Characters are dealing with the aftermath of a recession. There are abandoned shopping malls, empty foreclosed homes and workers who have lost their jobs.

“I wanted the whole thing to feel bankrupt,” Flynn said. “I wanted it to really feel like a marriage that had been hollowed out in a city that had been hollowed out and a country that was increasingly hollowed out.”

The result, Peters said, is a novel that shows Flynn is more concerned with the “why” of the crime rather than the “how” of the crime.

“There’s a real propulsion, the way she tell that story,” Peters said. “You want to read it right through the end to see what’s going on.”